Hello community, and thank you for taking the time to read, and hopefully give me some advise.
New to electronics, stumble upon arduino after I did a crash course on LEDs for my motorcycle LEDs. I live in Cancun Mexico, and don't get to see my son to often. He is flying on the 23rd for 10 days, and one thing he seems to be interested in is electronics. When I was young I never got a chance to play with electronics because my father knew nothing about them or even where to get parts and plans. Because of internet, it seems that is no longer an issue.
I purchased an arduino uno starter kit. Plan to do all 15 projects with my son. I also purchased enough parts to make 3 arduinos on my own (for the set it and forget it projects). I also purchased 5 TLC5940NT LED drivers. Plus a bunch of LEDs and resitors.
Ideally I want to make 2 hexagonal infinity mirrors with 30 RGB LEDs on each one (5 leds per side).
The purpose of building two mirros, is for my son to be able to take one back with him, and together we can program different sequences or animations.
I have little to no experience on electronics, and I don't even know how to read the diagrams (plan to learn shortly after my son leaves). I don't expect someone to write up a step by step instructions for me, but I would appreciate any help you can provide. I don't mind searching myself, but I've learned it is much easier to find good info when I know what keywords to use. For example, I know I can learn how to daisy chain the TLC5940's by googling it.
I will try to break it down in the different steps I need, and hopefully I can start getting some expertise on the different points.
1) I am contemplating using a master 3 position switch (on, off, on). One on position would put infinity mirror on a random loop, it would basically stay on one animation for about 1 minute, then switch to another animation. The second ON position, would work in combination with a push button. When pressing and releasing the push button, it would cycle through the different animations one by one. (Is there a better way?)
2) Each mirror will have 30 RGB leds, which I assume it is like having 90 LEDs correct? If I want to be able to control each LED individually, what would be my best solution with what I have? The TLC5940s are 16 channels, with up to 4 led in parallel (all on or all off corect), so does that mean I would need 6 TLC5940's per mirror (16 channels x 6 = 96 to cover the 90 LEDs on each mirror), or is there a simpler method? I quickly read about multiplexing, would something like that help me? would it be too much to chew on?
3) For the code. I've taken programming classes 20 + years ago, but still remember the basics. I've been looking at some example code, and I seem to understand what is going on. I assume, some animations can be very short in programming (ie cycle on LED at a time would be a simple loop), while others can be much more complex. About how many different animations can I have saved?
Well, again thanks for any and all help. Hopefully my son will become interested, and I will have a reason to go to basics, and learn electronics from the ground up, understanding how to read and draw diagrams, etc. However, for this project I just don't have enough time to research it all on my own, that is why I am hoping folks from these great community will be able to point me in the right direction and offer me some good advice.